As the glorious summer weather fades from memory it is good to recall the last decent weekend of sunshine which happily coincided with the inaugural "boot camp" for our intrepid pre-DP students. Now it should be made clear from the outset that students didn't have much choice in the matter: this was an ice-breaking activity sprung upon them in the very first week of term. The idea was to get to know one another quickly through roughing it a bit in the wilds of Nuuksio. Actually that might be a bit of an exaggeration - the car park was only a ten-minute walk away! But the point holds good: we wanted more than a day out. We wanted an adventure!
The event was planned in advance by the second year tutor students ably assisted by a couple of extra volunteers - Mikko and Juhani. Thanks guys. The CAS and IB coordinators provided the adult presence, food and car in case of emergency. Much of our time in the forest was spend socialising, playing games, hiking, swimming, and eating round the camp fire. Rather less time was spent sleeping. Did it work? Was it fun? Students were asked for their feedback and this is worth briefly recounting below.
What did students like about it? Here are some of the comments: "The food was surprisingly good" "The tutors were nice" "Games and activities were fun" "The atmosphere was nice" "It was well organised, better than I expected"! "It was a nice way to get to know people better" "I liked everything".
Yet we would be kidding ourselves if we claimed the whole thing were a bed of roses. Criticisms included the following: "Cliques could have been broken" "Too long a hike" "The food could have been better" "Sleeping in a tent - cold" "The bread was hard" "We could have played more games".
Surely there are some lessons here for next year. Indeed we are already planning ahead in such a way that will iron out some of these creases. The bottom-line is this: what grade did participants give the camp on a scale of 4-10? The average was 8+. We can live with this. The camp was, by and large, a success and definitely something to be repeated.
"Plan Do Review". This is an important part of the IB approach and the camp touches so many aspects of the learner profile. Not bad if this can be tackled within the first two weeks of school. Future pre-DP students (whoever you are) - see you next year!
David Crawford IB Coordinator